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AMA to study mandatory flu vaccines

About a month ago the hottest topic among healthcare workers in New York was the requirement to get seasonal and H1N1 vaccines [1]. But the regulation left [2] almost as quickly as it came and many doctors and nurses were relieved, even if some associations were not [3].

However it seems the idea of mandatory regulations hasn’t died completely. At the American Medical Association’s (AMA) interim meeting [4], the House of Delegates rejected a proposal to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers, but directed the AMA to study the ethics and science behind mandatory vaccinations, according to American Medical News [5].

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) has asked the AMA to support required vaccinations for healthcare workers unless they have medical contraindications or religious objections.

Michael L. Butera, MD, an alternate delegate who spoke on behalf of IDSA argued that mandates may be the only way to achieve appropriate compliance rates.

“It is our ethical duty to do no harm and prevent transmission of disease to patients,” Butera said at the meeting.  “Despite educational efforts, we have 40% to 70% immunization rates that are woefully inadequate.”

Delegates said mandatory vaccinations can be counterproductive if implemented poorly, and asked for further research. In the meantime delegates advised well-placed hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic areas.